History Tour of Orlando

Many visitors come to Orlando for the theme parks and other activities and attractions. What you may not know is that the city of Orlando has a long, interesting history that dates back to the 1800s and before. There are over 50 historic Orlando landmarks scattered throughout the city, and you’ll want to make sure to add a few of them to your trip. Orlando has its own register, and there are 12 buildings that have also made it onto the National Register of Historic Places (NRHP).

Firestone Tire and Rubber Company Building

Originally built in 1929, the structure is considered significant for its architecture and as an indicator of Orlando’s growth in the commerce and transportation sectors. It exudes a personality much larger than the actual size and function. The building was added to Orlando’s list on August 23, 1982.

JJ Bridges House

The home has the honor to be not only on Orlando’s list, but also the national list. Built in 1916, the Rev. John J. Bridges, D.D. and his wife retired to Orlando and built the home in the Colonial Revival style. The home inspired a documentable “second generation” of homes that are simpler and more elegant. The property was added to the local register on October 11, 1982, and added to the NRHP on January 26, 1984.

Publix Pole Sign

One of the most historic signs that’s easily identifiable is the Las Vegas sign, but Orlando residents know just where to direct you to find the Publix Pole Sign. The neon pole sign located on Edgewater Drive dates back to the 1960s and is the only sign in Central Florida that resembles the market chain’s original signage. The sign remains virtually the same as it did in the 60s, with only the plastic faces being replaced throughout the years. It was added to Orlando’s list on September 28, 1998.

United State Post Office and Court House

In Orlando’s early years, the post office often moved to various buildings around town as new postmasters were appointed. The building on Robinson Street replaced an earlier one on the corner of Central Boulevard and Court Street. From its April 15, 1941, opening date, the building has continuously served as a post office and housing for other federal agencies, including courtrooms, judges’ offices, U.S. marshals, and the IRS. It was added to Orlando’s register on April 24, 1989.

Rogers Building

Gordon Rogers came to Orlando from England in 1886 and built the Queen Anne-style building on Magnolia Avenue. The English Club occupied the second story, and sponsored dances, theater productions, and many other events. Fun fact: the metal siding, virtually unheard of in Florida building, was shipped from England. It was added to the local register on February 27, 1978, and to the NRHP on July 7, 1983.

Old Orlando Railroad Depot

The railroad came to Orlando in 1880, and Bumby Hardware served as the first depot, with Mr. Bumby himself as the ticket agent. Just a year later, a wooden station was constructed across from the store, and another followed – built of brick – in 1886. It is the brick building that was dedicated by Henry Plant in 1890 that has made it to Orlando’s as well as the NRHP lists due to its symbolic place in Orlando’s growth as a major Florida city. It was added to the Orlando list on February 27, 1978, but made the NRHP list on April 22, 1976.

Orlando High School

Built in 1926 and originally named for C.E. Howard, a school trustee. From 1927-52, it became Orlando High School. With the building of Boone and Edgewater High Schools, OHS was converted to a junior high school and was renamed for Howard. The high school educated famous grads such as astronaut John Young, Orlando Mayor Carl Langford, and Nobel Prize-winner Marshall Nirenberg. It is now a zoneless magnet school for the arts. It was added to Orlando’s list on April 16, 1990.

Jack Kerouac House

Considered one of the great American authors of the 20th Century, the 1920 Frame Vernacular house was Kerouac’s home during the time his most successful book, On the Road, was published. After quickly rising to fame, he wrote the follow-up The Dharma Bums in just 12 days. The property is managed by the Jack Kerouac Writer in Residence Project of Orlando and offers the home as a residence to a writer or poet to live and write, rent-free. The home was added to Orlando’s list on March 17, 2003, but didn’t make the NRHP until February 6, 2013.

Journey Through History With These Orlando Landmarks

You decided to add a little historical flare to your Orlando adventure. While you plot your course to all the fabulous historical areas around town, make sure to book a stay in a vacation home provided by Tropical Escape Vacation Homes. We offer cozy two-bedroom condo units if you’re on a solo or small-family discovery of history, all the way up to ten-bedroom single-family homes for you and all your favorite history buffs to explore the city’s roots together. After a day of exploring history, kick back in an open living area, cook a delicious home-cooked meal in the fully equipped kitchen, or, in anticipation of more history exploration, get a good night’s sleep in a private bedroom.

Contact us today to start planning your trip through Orlando history!